Archive for the ‘Bible Study’ Category

Bible Study: The Lord is My Shepherd

Thursday, April 8th, 2010
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By Zina Leone

Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Jesus Our Lord

Jesus Our Lord

Does the 23rd Psalm remind you of death and funerals? It should, because it’s one of the most common passages of the Bible recited at funerals. Maybe it’s the thought our loved ones “walking through the valley of the shadow of death, fearing no evil” that brings so much comfort. Indeed, this thought is very comforting, but somehow when I read it I don’t think of death at all, but of life.

Our life here is a journey and sometimes we must travel through rough terrain and dark valleys. Sometimes those dark valleys can be so difficult we feel as if we’re traveling through the very “shadow of death.” This is because when we’re faced with trials and tribulation we usually feel so apart from God. Some call it “the dark night of the soul” and it truly is. But the 23rd Psalm is a reminder to us to “fear no evil” because Jesus is always there to give us direction and guidance, no matter how dark it may seem. He is there beside us and “His rod and His staff will comfort us.

In the Bible, Jesus is often referred to as a shepherd and we as His sheep. He watches over us the same way a shepherd watches over his flock. A shepherd always carries a rod to clear away rocks or anything in the way that could possibly harm his sheep. Sometimes he might even use it against wild animals that threaten his flock. The staff he carries has a crook on the end of it and is often used to steer wandering sheep back to the flock. Sometimes it might be used to rescue a lamb that has fallen in a crevice or gotten itself stuck in some bushes. When we think of Jesus as our shepherd, keeping harm away from us, it’s certainly a very comforting thought. We don’t even know how many times He may have used His rod to push Satan away from us. And how comforting it is to know His staff is always ready to guide us back to His fold when we have strayed.

God provides for us and gives all we need. Sometimes we have trouble believing that because our idea of what we need is usually completely different than His. Have you ever wanted something really bad and prayed and prayed, but it didn’t seem like He was listening? He’s listening, but He doesn’t always give us what we want because He knows better than we do what’s good for us. We need to learn to accept whatever it is He wants for us and trust it is for our good. “We shall not want” for anything we need.

Life can be hectic at times and we feel as if we have the weight of the world on our shoulders. Traveling through dark valleys can really tear us apart both physically and mentally. It’s very important for us to try to set aside a time for prayer and meditation. As we shut out the world and try not to think about our problems “He will make us to lie down in green pastures and lead us beside the still waters.” As we do this more and more “He will restore our souls and lead us in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”

In the midst of all our troubles and all the evil influences of the world, He is always there beside us. “He prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies.” His Spirit of love and compassion envelopes us as “He anoints our heads with oil. Our cups runneth over.” When we follow Him He assures us “goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives,” and when our journey here has finally ended “we will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”

This is what I see when I read the 23rd Psalm, a step-by-step guide in all areas of our lives. Maybe my view of it is kind of like the adage, a cup half-empty vs. a cup half-full. While some people seem to only associate it with the comfort it brings in death, I am so thankful for the comfort it brings in life.

Source:

Zina Leone is freelance writer and photographer living in southeastern Pennsylvania. She started out in high school, writing articles and poems for the school newspaper and has continued to write about life experiences, opinions, short stories, essays and poems. She published her first book, a storybook for her grandson in 2007 and has recently been chosen to publish an article in a new book coming out in the Fall, Hope Whispers.

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God’s Grace

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

There once was a man named George Thomas, pastor in a small New England town. One Easter Sunday morning he came to the Church carrying a rusty, bent, old bird cage, and set it by the pulpit.

Eyebrows were raised and, as if in response, Pastor Thomas began to speak… “I was walking through town yesterday when I saw a young boy coming toward me swinging this bird cage. On the bottom of the cage were three little wild birds, shivering with cold and fright.

I stopped the lad and asked, “What do you have there, son?”

“Just some old birds,” came the reply.

“What are you going to do with them?” I asked.

“Take ’em home and have fun with ’em,” he answered. “I’m gonna tease ’em and pull out their feathers to make ’em fight. I’m gonna have a real good time.”

“But you’ll get tired of those birds sooner or later. What will you do then?”

“Oh, I got some cats,” said the little boy. “They like birds. I’ll take ’em to them.”

The pastor was silent for a moment. “How much do you want for those birds, son?”

“Huh?? !!! Why, you don’t want them birds, mister. They’re just plain old field birds. They don’t sing. They ain’t even pretty!”

“How much?” the pastor asked again. The boy sized up the pastor as if he were crazy and said, “$10?”

The pastor reached in his pocket and took out a ten dollar bill. He placed it in the boy’s hand. In a flash, the boy was gone. The pastor picked up the cage and gently carried it to the end of the alley where there was a tree and a grassy spot. Setting the cage down, he opened the door, and by softly tapping the bars persuaded the birds out, setting them free. Well, that explained the empty bird cage on the pulpit, and then the pastor began to tell this story:

One day Satan and Jesus were having a conversation. Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden, and he was gloating and boasting. “Yes, sir, I just caught a world full of people down there. Set me a trap, used bait I knew they couldn’t resist. Got ’em all!”

“What are you going to do with them?” Jesus asked.

Satan replied, “Oh, I’m gonna have fun! I’m gonna teach them how to marry and divorce each other, how to hate and abuse each other, how to drink and smoke and curse. I’m gonna teach them how to invent guns and bombs and kill each other.

I’m really gonna have fun!”

“And what will you do when you are done with them?” Jesus asked.

“Oh, I’ll kill ’em,” Satan glared proudly.

“How much do you want for them?” Jesus asked.

“Oh, you don’t want those people. They ain’t no good. Why, you’ll take them and they’ll just hate you.. They’ll spit on you, curse you and kill you. You don’t want those people!!”

“How much? He asked again.

Satan looked at Jesus and sneered, “All your blood, tears and your life.”

Jesus said, “DONE!” Then He paid the price.

The pastor picked up the cage and walked from the pulpit.

Note: Isn’t it funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell? Isn’t it funny how someone can say “I believe in God” but still follow Satan. Isn’t it funny how you can send a thousand jokes through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing? Isn’t it funny how when you go to forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it to them? Isn’t it funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us?

Cast your cares upon the Lord, for he cares for you, 1 Peter. 5:7

Bible Study: Preaching Power By Prayer

Thursday, April 1st, 2010
Jesus Our Lord

Jesus Our Lord

Preaching will pierce the heart and soul of people when there has been much prayer by Christians and preachers that have a heart for God and His Word.

Preaching is supernatural. Preaching will bring a person to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Preaching will make a person that has lived in a pathway of sin to realize the error of his ways and run to the throne room of God’s loving grace. Preaching will cause a person, a city or even a nation to live right, act right, think right – God’s right way. That kind of power is available in preaching but it will only be found if preaching has been soaked in prayer.

With prayer the light of heaven is on every word spoken. With prayer the very life of God is breathed into ever word preached. Prayer will cause the anointing of the Holy Spirit to rest on every word like thick oil. Only when the anointing oil of the Holy Spirit is smeared on people’s hearts, minds, souls and bodies can there be conviction of the hardened sinner, healing of broken hearts, inspiration and hope given when in the natural there should never be any.

Prayer soaked preaching will make such powerful preaching that people will tremble in their seats with a holy reverence and joy unspeakable and full of glory. With prayer soaked preaching people will come to the reality that God is real, He is in the room with them, and that there is nothing impossible for Him to do. To the lost teenager, God will quickly become their God and no longer will He just be grandmother’s God and mother’s God, He will be their God.

Only by prayer will the anointing, the oil of the Holy Spirit rest on the message preached until people are totally captivated by the realities of God, His Word, Heaven and Hell, and the love found in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for them. People will see their deep need for a closer relationship to a loving and holy God. They will come away full, and satisfied, having feasted on Living Bread. Having tasted and seen the Goodness of God.

Preaching that has much anointing and oil on it requires “the earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].” (AMP) The anointing oil that will result from that type of prayer will be so great that the effect will be endless. Whole families, churches, cities and nations can be transformed by the full glories found in the salvation of Jesus Christ. Only with “The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man will we see the Greatest Awakening that we must have right now

To Continue Click:

Heart To Heart Ministries, founded and directed by Mike and Denise Hartmann-Echterling. http://www.h2hm.org/preachingpower.html

About the Author

Mike and Denise Hartmann-Echterling and Hart To Heart Ministries minister around the world. Denise sings, teaches and with a heart of love allows the power of God to touch the hearts and lives of people. Mike with great passion preaches on the heights that are obtainable to see Christians as they walk in the authority that has been given to them through the cross of Christ. Visit: http://www.h2hm.org

The Absolute Best Form of Communication

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

By Stephen Johns

Being a Christian you have this amazing gift of being able to interact with the Most High God! God is in our lives in every way possible directing our paths. Amazing, and what amazes me further is the fact that we get to speak with our Creator on a continual basis, day by day, hour by hour, even down to the second if we choose so. This act is called prayer.

I am asked quite frequently by Christians, “How do I pray?” I believe there are many ways to pray, but I would like to discuss one which I believe to be the most natural way to pray.

First, I want you to imagine that you are at your childhood home. You get up in the morning as you do everyday and you can smell breakfast cooking and your Mom singing in the kitchen. Your Dad is drinking coffee in the kitchen. You walk downstairs and there is evidence of them being all around you but you barely acknowledge them. Time passes through the day. You have lunch, maybe saying hi and thanking your parents for the food exactly as you did the day before. More time passes as you do your chores. Soon the afternoon passes with no interaction. It’s night time, you sit for dinner and again possibly saying thanks for the food. Night has fallen and you watch a T.V. show and go to bed. Just before you retire for the evening you tell your parents, “How thou art great and thou art wonderful parents” and as you are speaking you gently fall asleep in mid-sentence!

Sound a little strange? As abundant as your parents are in your life you barely communicate with them and when you do, you use strange words unlike your typical rhetoric through the day!? Yet this is how God is often treated by us. Avoided most of the day and spoken to with ready made cookie cutter prayers.

There are many reasons that we may not pursue God in prayer more often. One reason is that we may feel vain in thinking that we can actually speak to the “Great I Am” without using specific times like dinner, and bedtime, and using formidable words like thou and thee. However, this is not true.

One of my favorite names for God is Abba or as it could break down, “Daddy – a loving and trusting Father.” And He wants us to come to him on a continual basis. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says to, “Pray without ceasing.” If it is suggested that I can pray without ceasing, then every second must be suitable for prayer. There would not be a specific time or place that would be more suitable for prayer, meaning our communication lines are wide open and our Father is ready to hear us any moment through the day.

Understand and recognize that your “Heavenly Daddy” is with you never leaving 24/7. He is there in the good and the bad, thick and thin and He wants you to tell Him about it in your own words, crying out if need be! So how do you pray? Start by just opening your mouth and your heart and in your own words – pray.

For more on how you can participate in personal growth and help improve the lives of the unfortunate and downtrodden please contact us at the web-site below.
http://www.mylifechange.org

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Daily Devotion – Your Everyday Ministry

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

By Edwin Joseph Sotomango Villagomez

How do you define a ministry? Is it about supporting every church activity and gathering? Or joining the music team? Or is it about being active in church evangelism programs? etc…

As I analyze the term “Ministry”, it seems that there will be 2 types:

  1. General Ministry – this is the type of ministry where most people get joined with. Just like what the term implies, this is intended for the general public who is interested. For example, music team, ushering team, pastor support team, evangelism team and many more.
  2. Personal Ministry – this is not about any other people, its all about you. We all have our own calling, own destiny to live in, own skill to use and develop, and own life to dedicate for God.

God has a very unique plan for all of us. Hard to imagine and think of but easy to know especially if we will truly seek God.

“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”
Romans 12:3-8

It clearly states that we all have our own spiritual gifts to nurture and use everyday. We may have different capabilities but what matters most is that we all use it to fulfill God’s plan in our lives.

Daily Devotion Conclusion:

God will judge us not based from all those things we did but on those things we obeyed. If you still don’t know yet your spiritual gift, try seeking God because it will be the only solution.

You may start by sharing His marvelous Word. Believe me, we are all called to share the Gospel. It is a fact that you should consider.

Edwin Joseph is a former self help and personal development writer which is now focused on writing christian devotionals which aims to share the Word of God online.

To read daily devotionals, visit http://www.InstantDevotion.com
Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/instantdevotion

Bible Study: Meditating on God’s Works Creates Optimism For Success and Health

Friday, December 18th, 2009

By Parker Jaymes

One of the ways we can develop greater health and greater success is to develop some of these habits below. These habits have secular origins, but I believe that they demonstrate the truth in Scripture.

Psalm 77:11-13 (King James Version)

I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.

I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.

Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?

One of the lessons in our e-book discusses the process of recalling all God has done. It comes from Psalm 77:11-13 and I believe exercising in this does several things. Some of these insights come from reading a decidedly secular book called “Learned Optimism.”

Again, because the origin comes from a psychologist shows that the outcome is true with empirical evidence, even if their attribution of the practice is not from a Christian world view.

Recall positive outcomes from the past

Surely I will remember Your wonders of old” instructs us to try to see the past that shapes us with wonder of God’s hand. This creates resiliency for our current circumstances.

See the negatives as temporary

You pulled your people out of the worst kind of trouble” puts into perspective that even the worse situations we may be facing are temporary. When we allow that mindset, we become more resilient in the world and trusting in God. In fact, it strengthens the faith we need today to see his faithfulness of yesterday.

Freedom from helplessness

I cannot stop thinking about your might works” gives us the ability to act and confidence that we are not alone and helpless. Helplessness (often learned helplessness) leads to disempowering states like depression. But when we follow these words and meditate in what God has done, we begin to see everything else in a different optic.

These three aspects come from living a life that recalls all that God has done. They’ve shown that people who take the types of actions which can be derived from this mindset are more successful and live longer.

How often do people meditate on God’s “wonderful deeds of long ago“?

Parker Jaymes
Author: “Hundredfold Now!”
Free 7-Day Course at: http://www.HundredfoldNow.com/7Days
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Bible Study: What Matters to God

Friday, December 11th, 2009

By Angela Mwema

Matthew 18:3

And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus Our Lord

Jesus Our Lord

When we get born again, we are so careful to do everything perfectly and please God in all that we do. We think before we talk and treat people better. Our love for God is very intense. We want to tell everyone about this wonderful thing we feel and preach to everyone though most of the time we are not even sure of what we are saying. We spend a lot of time with God in prayer and reading his word. This is called the First Love. Sadly with time, this energy fades away and all we have are memories of the pleasant times we used to share with God.

This is what matters to God. This innocent, yet total and undiluted love for him. We are like new born babes who know nothing about the new world they have been ushered into but we trust our mothers entirely. We know that nothing can happen to us when they are around us and we want them to be around us all the time. If you’ve never known, new born babies only have eyes for there moms. Nothing else interests them but with time, they start noticing the world around them. They soon want to spend their time doing other things not just with the mom.

God wants us to be like the newborns, entirely engrossed in his love and care. We should want to know him the more and not care about the world around us. He wants us to cultivate a relationship with him and this can only happen when we spend time with him.

Angela Mwema is a messenger to the world with the true and living word of God. Please visit her site for more spiritual nourishment. This is http://angiepages.com/2009/09/09/the-workers-are-few/.

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